I wonder every day why Cake grows so slowly. Will there be a tipping point? Is it simply network effects, where people go where all the action is? Are we missing features like private messaging, multiple photos per post, AI that better suggests conversations? Does it take billions like it did Tik Tok to get it off the ground?
The thing is I visited a venture capitalist who had invested across 20-something attempts at what Cake is doing and kept a list of 112 efforts, and none were able to get sustained traction, but Facebook Groups are exploding. Some had a ton of money behind them, like Google+. So I dunno. What think ye?
In very basic terms, every successful place needs to have
- a compelling reason to (first) visit
- a compelling reason to stay (or revisit, whatever makes sense in context)
- a compelling reason to not leave
and all of that needs to be the case not only in absolute terms, but also relatively speaking.
Last year, a new Spanish restaurant opened in town. The fact that we didn't have that type of restaurant before, combined with the fact that I like to support local businesses instead of having to drive somewhere else, was a compelling reason to first visit with friends. The fact that their special offer of different varieties of fish with patatas fritas and a large side of salad was great and not too expensive was a compelling reason to revisit with family. The fact that, this time, the service was chaotic and the paella completely unsalted sadly was a compelling reason to leave and support other businesses instead. Last but not least, our global pandemic was yet another reason to not give them another chance this year (so far).
So, why should anyone visit Cake? There are some great people on the platform - but that's not a valid argument because no one knows that before their visit. There are some great conversations, but those exist elsewhere, too. There's a section for "featured" conversations, but I often don't know why any of them are featured with just one or two short replies. Creating an account is somewhat easy - but logging in to Facebook by just tapping the blue 'f' on your phone's home screen is easier.
Why should they stay on Cake? Perhaps, this time, existing people do matter - but there aren't as many as in other places, just like there aren't as many ongoing conversations as on Reddit, or Facebook, or elsewhere.
Why should they not leave Cake? Being relatively troll-free is a plus, for sure, but perhaps there are other things that are off-putting to people? I know I have voiced some concerns over time, such as conversations ending up about completely different topics than initially intended, or always the same people participating in conversations.
All things considered, I'm still here (although admittedly much less active than just some months ago), but I currently wouldn't ask anyone to join simply because I couldn't tell them a compelling reason why. That doesn't mean that there's no compelling reason for anyone, right now, to visit.
If you have a Spanish restaurant, you don't need everyone to visit - you just need someone to visit and stay. You could try and convince people who don't generally visit restaurant - or those that do but don't like Spanish food - but it would be much easier to cater to those people who already like dining out, and/or those who are interested in mediterranean lifestyle.
Perhaps focusing on a specific group of people as @lidja suggested would be a good idea - following up with (previously) active users of the platform might be another.